The glorious colors of the changing leaves, every year, stir my soul, and yet, being a summer sun-lover, I confess, I experience a certain seasonal dread. Each fall I sense with the dimming sunlight, an inwardly dimming soul-light, which, if I allow it, can entrap me in a state of hopelessness and a sense of some lurking fear, like a dragon in my soul.
As we enter the coming of winter and add the ghost-voices that tempt us into a state of dread and depression that the ‘holidays are coming,’ we have the makings for a time of year that is challenging for many families.
I remember the overwhelming darkness, loneliness, and shame that often caught my attention when I was struggling through the early years of parenting, so this time of year often reminds me to be grateful for the amazing gift I found hidden in the dark night of my soul. The gift was the gift of a new perception.
When I choose to look at my life with inner soul-eyes, I am more sensitive to perceiving the truths selflessly displayed in nature and her ways, and I am better able to read the secrets that can inspire me to the soul-truths within.
With this new perception, I am better able to keep my soul-seasons in check. I can anticipate the burgeoning growth hidden in a bleak winter mood, and I can know, with utter confidence, that just as every spring, light overcomes the darkness – every year – I too, will see the light, if I choose to look for it.
I can choose to live in the ongoing progression of the seasons in my soul any day of the year. Living in to this true imagination, I feel less ‘victimized’ by outer circumstances, and I can free myself once again to be myself, to be of service to others, in any situation, no matter what the weather.
No matter where you live, an increasing darkness is daily swallowing up the light. Every ancient and modern culture has its own celebration at this time of year of the ultimate victory of the light in the darkness. The word advent actually means ‘the arrival of something awaited,’ and that spirit of eager anticipation of the light overcoming the darkness can be celebrated any time the soul enters into seeming darkness.
Whether your family celebrates the glorious victory of the light in Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, or the unquestioned beauty of the full moon on fallen snow, may your spirit be filled with child-like anticipation of the coming of the light into the darkness, whether it be outside or inside your home or heart.
Light is always more powerful than darkness. We see proof of that every time we turn on a light switch. Provided sufficient power is present to illuminate the bulb, the darkness must give in.
Are you taking the time to maintain a sufficient supply of energy to cast away soul darkness?
Your children are watching you, from your insides out. Your job is to show them how one human being lives, season to season, year after year, wrestling fearlessly and freely with darkness and knowing, with inner confidence, that the power supply of a well-working soul life will always be ample to cast away the deepest shadows.
May your holidays offer you something awaited, a new surge of inner power, and may you have an ample supply of love and light to offer all you meet.
Penni Sparks is the teacher of Live Oak's Class of 2013.